The world fundamentally changed in March 2020. Pretty much everyone went into lockdown and billions had to learn how to carry on with something resembling normalcy. While COVID-19 shows no sign of going away, the vaccine and falling infection rates make some feel like the worst is over. Even still, Gen Xers are sounding off about how their social lives have changed as a result of the pandemic.
I’m Uncoachable, I’m Unsociable
The r/GenX subreddit is the premier destination to learn how the oft-forgotten generation is doing these days. A provocative post recently got tons of traction. Twitter user @PenSeawood asked an interesting question: “Has anyone else found that since 2020, you’ve become more introverted, less sociable?”
COVID-19 obviously sent millions indoors, so social skills got rusty. The top comment notes that introversion only got exacerbated: “I was already a huge introvert. The past few years just made it deeper.” Some commenters marveled that they could even get more introverted.
Another writes, “Same. But I have to admit, I used to get some social interaction from work that is no longer there and I am starting to feel really isolated.” Sometimes it takes years for the isolation to really set in.
Still Going Out, But Prefer To Stay In
“Yes, absolutely. At 48, all I want to do is be alone,” one commenter says. Another says they only really leave the house begrudgingly; “I work from home. I’m prime GenX (born late 71) . I hate leaving my house at all. Lol. I do it. I have a good time. I sing in a choir, I go to musicals in the summer with friends but if I could just be with my dogs and spouse at home? I would do that!”
A Small Disclaimer
One has to accept that the folks posting on a subreddit are more likely to be spending time online. This typically lends itself to introversion, so the comments here may be skewed more toward unsociable tendencies. As one commenter says, “I guess all the introverted Gen Xers hang out on Reddit! Funny.”
That being said, COVID-19 definitely changed how brains work. Plain and simple. One commenter eloquently explains the change: “I’ve always been a very sociable person, very outgoing… “A people person“ if you will. Ever since 2020 I truly have no desire. A silver lining to the ‘Covid era’ is I seemed to take off my rose-colored glasses. I’m not a shut-in in my house like the Unabomber or anything but I truly just don’t feel like socializing with that many people anymore.”
Gen Xers are not alone. It took decades to develop these skills and just two years to let them slip. Here’s hoping folks can reach levels of introversion that are natural and right for them as COVID-19 continues.